Susan Dreyfus to Rejoin Families International after Leading Largest Washington State Agency

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Susan N. Dreyfus, secretary of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, will rejoin Milwaukee-based Families International, Inc. as president and CEO effective Jan. 2, 2012.

Susan N. Dreyfus, secretary of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, will rejoin Milwaukee-based Families International, Inc. as president and CEO effective Jan. 2, 2012.

Families International, Inc. is the nonprofit parent organization of three, national nonprofit organizations: Alliance for Children and Families, United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA), and Ways to Work; and one for-profit company, FEI Behavioral Health.

Dreyfus assumes several leadership roles on Jan. 2. She will be president and CEO of Families International, Inc.; president and CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families; CEO of Ways to Work; CEO of UNCA; and board member for FEI Behavioral Health. She will replace Peter Goldberg, who died suddenly on Aug. 12, 2011.

Dreyfus rejoins Families International and the Alliance for Children and Families for which she served as senior vice president and chief operating officer from 2003-2007. She will remain in her current role with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services during a special session of the legislature beginning November 28 to solve the state’s budget shortfall.

“This is the exact right fit at the right time for this group of organizations,” said Richard Cohen, chairman of the board of Families International. “Susan offers Families International and its affiliated organizations not only an exceptional broad-based background and wealth of experience in this sector, but a very significant knowledge of their businesses. I fully expect her to hit the ground running.”

Said Stephen Mack, interim president and CEO of Families International, “We are lucky to have Susan come back to Wisconsin and rejoin the Families International group of companies. Her commitment to the mission of each of the organizations is very deep. After experiencing the shock of the sudden death of our previous leader, Peter Goldberg, we know we are in good hands.”

As secretary of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services—the largest Washington state agency—Dreyfus leads a department with an $11 billion budget and more than 16,000 employees. The department is responsible for programs and systems including child welfare, juvenile justice, aging and disability services, substance abuse and mental health, vocational rehabilitation, deaf and hard of hearing, and economic services. The department directly administers programs and institutions and works closely with the nonprofit and for-profit sectors throughout the state of Washington. Dreyfus was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in May 2009.

From July 2007 – May 2009, Dreyfus was executive vice president for strategy at Rogers Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. in Oconomowoc, Wis.

She was appointed senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Alliance for Children and Families in January 2003. Later in her tenure, she was named to the same role for the parent organization, Families International.

Prior to joining the Alliance and Families International, Dreyfus was administrator of Wisconsin’s Division of Children and Family Services for more than six years. She helped design the Division of Children and Family Services, Department of Health and Family Services after being appointed by Gov. Tommy Thompson as its first administrator in 1996.

“I feel like I am coming home in more ways than one. To rejoin these great organizations is an honor,” said Dreyfus. “While I have loved my work in Washington State, I am looking forward to working with the Alliance and UNCA members and the local Ways to Work programs as we partner in communities and states across America to serve and strengthen the people, families, and neighborhoods who depend on us.

“From my experience in state government, I know full well of the importance of the partnership between the public and private sectors, as well as the urgency of the integral work of the nonprofit human services sector at this moment in our nation’s history,” she continued.

Dreyfus recognizes that while replacing Peter Goldberg could be daunting, it was he who helped prepare her for this role.

“Peter Goldberg was a visionary. He was a believer in the power, the importance, and the independence of the nonprofit human services sector. I look forward to continuing his work in charting a course for the 21st century,” she commented. “He was a dear friend and mentor. I am a better leader because of Peter, and I feel I am ready to take on this position because of him and the work I have done in Washington State with Gov. Gregoire.”

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